In the supernatural history of the world there are few things more common than the belief in ghosts. From the earliest recorded writings such as the Epic of Gilgamesh to twenty-first-century ghost-hunting TV shows, ghosts have been part of almost every time and every culture . . . and yet there's very little evidence to support their existence.
Ghosts: A Supernatural History is a historical and global exploration of these mysterious apparitions. It asks: What exactly is a ghost? Are poltergeists, wraiths and revenants technically ghosts? How does 'ghost' relate to 'soul'? And how many different kinds of ghost are there? It visits the spirits of the classical world, including the Egyptian five-part soul and the first haunted-house comedy play, Mostellaria by Plautus (254–184 BCE). We encounter the frightening phantoms of the Middle Ages – which might incinerate priests or devour children – and the nineteenth-century rise of Spiritualism – essentially a religion devoted to ghosts. Ghosts are everywhere: from India's bhuta to the Hungry Ghost Festival in China and Mexico's La Llorona legend, as well as the Bell Witch of the American South and 'the most haunted house in England', Borley Rectory.
Ghosts also delves into the history of the spirit on page and screen. How did Horace Walpole's pioneering Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto of 1764 lead to the 2007 hit film Paranormal Activity? Classic ghost tales, from Ann Radcliffe's works to the chilling short stories of M. R. James and Stephen King's The Shining, reveal how the real meaning of ghosts has shifted over the centuries. Wide-ranging, informative and featuring 60 chilling, unearthly images, this book will appeal to the very wide audience for the supernatural.
- "In Ghosts: A Haunted History, Lisa Morton offers a compact account of the human propensity to believe in otherworldly apparitions. She discusses, among other matters, haunted houses, spiritualism, ghost-hunting, “Day of the Dead” and spectral terrors in literature, film and popular culture. To give body and shape to these phantoms and airy nothings, Morton packs her book with images — of paintings, creepy spirit photographs, movie stills and even a full-page illustration of Casper the Friendly Ghost...Ghosts abounds with phantasmic lore of every kind...the book reminds us that it’s when the days are shortest and the nights darkest that we most need warmth and light and family. Paradoxically, it’s at this same time of the year, and under just those cozy conditions, that we most enjoy spooky stories." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post, December 16, 2015
- "Lisa Morton's brisk, handsomely illustrated Ghosts: A Haunted History canters through millennia of supposed uncanny interruptions with a kind of puckish scepticism . . . Morton excels at presenting us with instances of the persistence of belief, across all times and cultures…" – Jonathan Barnes, The Times Literary Supplement
- "Ghosts: A Haunted History is intelligent and well structured, It's also well informed, which is apparent in the sheer volume of spectral examples that Morton has collected, yet her writing style remains accessible, and she doesn't allow the book to read like a jargon-heavy thesis...a perfect companion for those who err towards skepticism over embellishment, yet still find themselves riddled in goose-pimples when they hear a creak in the floorboards in the dead of night." - Richelle Charkot, Rue Morgue Magazine, December 2015
- "Ghosts is brilliant, insightful and scary as hell. Lisa Morton proves that truth is definitely stranger than fiction." –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightsiders and Ghostwalkers
- "In Ghosts, Lisa Morton brings her encyclopedic knowledge of folklore and the supernatural to bear on this vast, vital subject. For students of 'things that go bump in the night,' the book is simply indispensable." – Leslie S. Klinger, author of The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft
Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, graphic novel co-written with Rocky Wood, illustrated by Greg Chapman, and published by McFarland and Co., Inc. in Summer 2012. Also available in e-book form.
For three centuries, as the Black Death rampaged through Europe and the Reformation tore the Church apart, tens of thousands were arrested as witches and subjected to torture and execution, including being burned alive. This graphic novel examines the background; the witch hunters’ methods; who profited; the brave few who protested; and how the Enlightenment gradually replaced fear and superstition with reason and science.
Famed witch hunters Heinrich Kramer, architect of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, and Matthew Hopkins, England’s notorious "Witchfinder General," are covered as are the Salem Witch Trials and the last executions in Europe.
- Winner of the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in the Graphic Novel category.
- "The extensive research, passion, and knowledge on the subject-matter clearly shows throughout the book and graphics. Had history classes been taught in such a fashion, I might have been inclined to pay more attention." - Shannon Gambino, Hodge Podge Galore Reviews
- "Wood and Morton did a lot of research for Witch Hunts and it shows. The novel is succinct yet informative and the accompanying artwork brings the history to life." – Colleen Wanglund, The Horror Fiction Review
- "An outstanding overview of a vast subject in a concise and easy to read volume, Witch Hunts has resonance for all people living today." – Talie Helene, editor of The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror anthology series
- "…a short snappy narrative that doesn’t belabour points, hits the tour highlights, and keeps driving through the pages in order to fully cover the subject matter. There are simply no wasted words, an incredible amount of detail, and enough coverage of each major event to have the reader at least up to speed with the subject matter…Chapman has a fine eye for period detail, styles, and clothes, and nails the expressions throughout of a multitude of characters…Recommendation, people, well worth adding to your collection of dark subject matter." – Scaryminds
- "The biggest attribute of Witch Hunts probably comes in the form of its education. Even if you have an intimate knowledge of the burning times and in particular events like the Salem Witch Trials, there is bound to be a nugget of information within these pages that will come as a surprise. Moreover, the book is philosophical at heart, and you will be asking yourself the pertinent questions." - Matthew Tait, Hellnotes
- "Do yourself a favor and pick up this absolutely stunning non-fiction graphic novel, it is eye opening and meticulously presented. It will linger with you long after you put it down and I give it my highest recommendation." - Peter Schwotzer, Famous Monsters of Filmland
- "Enlightening, entertaining, and marvelously illustrated, Witch Hunts is a splendid and comprehensive guide to the Burning Times." – The Tomb of Dark Delights
- "Don’t mistake this as just another history book on the Salem Witch Trials. The graphic novel digs deeper into the issues with graphics and dialogue that bring the witch-hunts to life." - Digital Journal
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